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Remodeled retreat: Cheerful Caring Cabin delivers joy to kids with cancer (before and after photos) - OregonLive.com

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 10:12

OregonLive.com

Remodeled retreat: Cheerful Caring Cabin delivers joy to kids with cancer (before and after photos)
OregonLive.com
The 24-acre retreat, outside of Pacific City and far away from the hospital environment, connects kids to nature and promotes healing, says Regina Ellis, who founded the Portland-based Children's Cancer Association in 1995 after her five-year-old ...

Backyard viruses of the Pacific Northwest - Fred Hutch News Service

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 06:43

Fred Hutch News Service

Backyard viruses of the Pacific Northwest
Fred Hutch News Service
He took some of the goose poop the few blocks back to the laboratory of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center virologist Dr. Keith Jerome, where just that week he'd helped install a new type of genome sequencing machine known as a next-generation ...

Backyard viruses of the Pacific Northwest - Fred Hutch News Service

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 06:43

Fred Hutch News Service

Backyard viruses of the Pacific Northwest
Fred Hutch News Service
He took some of the goose poop the few blocks back to the laboratory of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center virologist Dr. Keith Jerome, where just that week he'd helped install a new type of genome sequencing machine known as a next-generation ...

2017 Bike and Run for Cure Prostrate and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - Saipan Tribune

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:05

Saipan Tribune

2017 Bike and Run for Cure Prostrate and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Saipan Tribune
... line in the 2017 Bike and Run for Cure Prostrate and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month held last Saturday at the American Memorial Park. Leon Etienne celebrates as he nears the finish line of the 5-kilometer course. Raymond Tolentino of Pacific ...

Family of deceased detainee wants Australia to repatriate body - Radio New Zealand

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 07:30

Radio New Zealand

Family of deceased detainee wants Australia to repatriate body
Radio New Zealand
A spokesperson for the council, Aran Mylavaganam, said Mr Rajendran appeared to have taken his own life after struggling to cope with four years of detention, the constant fear of deportation and news that his father was suffering from cancer. "He ...

Brian Rudman: Pot calling the kettle black on dangers of throwing nukes about the Pacific - New Zealand Herald

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 05:01

Brian Rudman: Pot calling the kettle black on dangers of throwing nukes about the Pacific
New Zealand Herald
Talk about teaching granny to suck eggs! As American president Donald Trump sits in his bed late at night, prodding the North Korean wasp nest with his little Twitter stick, his New Zealand ambassador is busy telling us we Kiwis don't appreciate how ...

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Cancer work earns highest prize - waateanews.com

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 18:20

waateanews.com

Cancer work earns highest prize
waateanews.com
Professor Parry Guilford identified the first known gene for fatal inherited gastric cancer after a North Island Maori whanau came to the University's Cancer Genetics Laboratory hoping for help to understand why so many family members were dying of the ...

Cancer work earns highest prize - Radio Waatea - waateanews.com

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 18:18

Cancer work earns highest prize - Radio Waatea
waateanews.com
A cancer geneticist whose work with Maori has changed treatment worldwide has been given the University of Otago's highest distinction, the...
Cancer geneticist to receive Otago's highest honour | Scoop NewsScoop.co.nz

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Cancer geneticist to receive Otago's highest honour - Scoop.co.nz (press release)

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:26

Cancer geneticist to receive Otago's highest honour
Scoop.co.nz (press release)
Professor Parry Guilford, an internationally renowned cancer genetics and biology expert, has been selected as the University's latest recipient of the Distinguished Research Medal, the University of Otago's highest distinction. The University awards ...

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Kitty Conley's Scratching Post - Chicago Tribune

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:00

Chicago Tribune

Kitty Conley's Scratching Post
Chicago Tribune
The United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees, are the most capable construction force ever seen going back to building not just landing strips on deserted islands in the Pacific in WWII but places all around the world ...

New target for treating “undruggable” lung cancer

MIT Cancer Research RSS - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 04:40

Mutations in the KEAP1 gene could point the way to treating an aggressive form of lung cancer that is driven by “undruggable” mutations in the KRAS gene, according to a new study by MIT researchers.

KEAP1 mutations occur alongside KRAS mutations in about 17 percent of lung adenocarcinoma cases. Tyler Jacks, director of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and co-senior author of the study, and his colleagues found that cancer cells with nonfunctioning KEAP1 genes are hungry for glutamine, an amino acid essential for protein synthesis and energy use. Starving these cells of glutamine may thus offer a way to treat cancers with both KRAS and KEAP1 mutations.

Indeed, small-molecule-based inhibitors of glutaminase, an enzyme crucial to glutamine metabolism, slowed cancer cell growth and led to smaller tumors overall in human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines and in tumors in mice with KEAP1 mutations, the researchers found.

The study offers a way to identify lung cancer patients who might respond well to drugs that block the work of glutaminase, says MIT graduate student Rodrigo Romero, a first author on the paper that appears in the Oct. 2 online edition of Nature Medicine.

“All cell lines that we have currently tested that are KEAP1-mutant — independent of their KRAS status — appear to be exquisitely sensitive to glutaminase inhibitors,” says Romero, a graduate student in Jacks’ lab, who participated in the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) as an undergraduate.

Hyperactivating the antioxidant response

Lung adenocarcinoma accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. lung cancers, and 15 to 30 percent of those cases contain a KRAS mutation. KRAS has been “notoriously difficult to inhibit” because the usual ways of blocking the KRAS protein’s interactions or interfering with the protein’s targets have fallen short, says Romero.

Lung cancers containing KRAS mutations often harbor other mutations, including KEAP1, which is the third most frequently mutated gene in lung adenocarcinoma. To find out more about how these co-mutations affect lung cancer progression, the MIT research team created KEAP1 mutations in mouse models of lung adenocarcinoma, using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system to target the gene.

The KEAP1 protein normally represses another protein called NRF2, which controls the activation of an antioxidant response that removes toxic, reactive oxygen species from cells. When the researchers disabled KEAP1 with loss-of-function mutations, NRF2 was able to accumulate and contribute to a “hyperactivation” of the antioxidant response.

Lung adenocarcinomas bearing the KEAP1 mutation may “take advantage of this [hyper-activation] to promote cellular growth or detoxify intracellular damaging agents,” Romero says.

In fact, when the researchers examined genes targeted by NRF2 across a sample of human lung adenocarcinoma tumors, they concluded that the expression of these genes was greater in advanced stage IV tumors, and that patients with such “up-regulated” NRF2 tumors had significantly worse survival rates than other lung adenocarcinoma patients.

Tumors hungry for glutamine

Romero and colleagues used CRISPR/Cas9 to learn more about other genetic interactions with KEAP1 mutants. Their screening demonstrated that lung cancer cells with KRAS and KEAP1 loss-of function mutations were more dependent than other cells on increased amounts of glutamine.

To learn whether this glutamine hunger could be a therapeutic vulnerability, the researchers tested two glutaminase inhibitors against the cancer cells, including one compound called CB-839 that is in phase I clinical trials for KRAS-mutant lung cancer. CB-839 slowed growth and kept tumors smaller than normal in lung adenocarcinoma with KEAP1 mutations, the researchers found.

Phase I clinical trials that treat KEAP1-mutant lung adenocarcinoma patients with a combination of CB-839 and the cancer immunotherapy drug nivolumab (Opdivo) are also underway, says Romero, who notes the MIT study might help identify patients who would be good candidates for these trials.

“There are also many clinical trials testing the efficacy of glutaminase inhibition in a variety of cancer types, independent of KRAS status. However, the results from these studies are still unclear,” Romero says.

Jacks emphasizes that his laboratory has and will continue to study several mutations beyond KEAP1 that may cooperate with KRAS in their mouse models of human lung adenocarcinoma. “The complexity of human cancer can be quite daunting,” he notes. “The genetic tools that we have assembled allow us to create models of many individual subtypes of the disease and in this way begin to define the exploitable vulnerabilities of each. The observed sensitivity of KEAP1 mutant tumors to glutaminase inhibitors is an important example of this approach. There will be more.”

Co-authors on the Nature Medicine paper include former Koch Institute postdoc Thales Papagiannakopoulos, now at New York University, and MIT professor of biology Matthew Vander Heiden. The research was funded by the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Support Grant, the National Institutes of Health, and the Koch Institute Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Categories: Cancer Research

Close to 200 join Bike & Run to raise cancer awareness - Marianas Variety

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 04:51

Close to 200 join Bike & Run to raise cancer awareness
Marianas Variety
Babauta also thanked the other community groups—the conference on cancer control program, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as the business, like the Imperial Pacific Resort and Triple J, and government agencies like the Department of Fire and ...

Bank organises walk to support cause - Fiji Times

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 11:14

Bank organises walk to support cause
Fiji Times
TO support and mark the beginning of Pinktober month, ANZ Bank and the Fiji Cancer Society held a "Pink Walk" in Suva yesterday for cancer awareness, prevention and cure. ANZ regional executive Pacific Islands ,Tessa Price said for the last two years ...

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WHO Launches Tool To Protect Children - National Mirror

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 08:00

WHO Launches Tool To Protect Children
National Mirror
The World Health Organisation for the Western Pacific launched on Monday a new tool to protect children from unhealthy food and drink that cause obesity and other serious health problems. The tool, called the regional profile model, would help ...

Fiji Sun - Fiji Sun Online

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:48

Fiji Sun
Fiji Sun Online
Her pleadings in 2012 were so powerful that they gave Ms Senimoli great spiritual, emotional and physical strength to fight the breast cancer, the disease which she almost succumbed to. And fight she did because in 2014, Ms Senimoli, of Raralevu near ...

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15000 Race For The Cure In Newport Beach - Patch.com

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 07:16

Patch.com

15000 Race For The Cure In Newport Beach
Patch.com
NEWPORT BEACH, CA — Over 15,000 breast cancer survivors, supporters and volunteers from Orange County and beyond gathered in Newport Beach's Fashion Island on Sunday for the Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure®. In its 26th year, this year ...

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Biologists identify possible new strategy for halting brain tumors

MIT Cancer Research RSS - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 05:10

MIT biologists have discovered a fundamental mechanism that helps brain tumors called glioblastomas grow aggressively. After blocking this mechanism in mice, the researchers were able to halt tumor growth.

The researchers also identified a genetic marker that could be used to predict which patients would most likely benefit from this type of treatment. Glioblastoma is usually treated with radiation and the chemotherapy drug temozolamide, which may extend patients’ lifespans but in most cases do not offer a cure.

“There are very few specific or targeted inhibitors that are used in the treatment of brain cancer. There’s really a dire need for new therapies and new ideas,” says Michael Hemann, an associate professor of biology at MIT, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and a senior author of the study.

Drugs that block a key protein involved in the newly discovered process already exist, and at least one is in clinical trials to treat cancer. However, most of these inhibitors do not cross the blood-brain barrier, which separates the brain from circulating blood and prevents large molecules from entering the brain. The MIT team hopes to develop drugs that can cross this barrier, possibly by packaging them into nanoparticles.

The study, which appears in Cancer Cell on Sept. 28, is a collaboration between the labs of Hemann; Jacqueline Lees, associate director of the Koch Institute and the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research; and Phillip Sharp, an MIT Institute Professor and member of the Koch Institute. The paper’s lead authors are former MIT postdoc Christian Braun, recent PhD recipient Monica Stanciu, and research scientist Paul Boutz.

Too much splicing

Several years ago, Stanciu and Braun came up with the idea to use a type of screen known as shRNA to seek genes involved in glioblastoma. This test involves using short strands of RNA to block the expression of specific genes. Using this approach, researchers can turn off thousands of different genes, one per tumor cell, and then measure the effects on cell survival.

One of the top hits from this screen was the gene for a protein called PRMT5. When this gene was turned off, tumor cells stopped growing. Previous studies had linked high levels of PRMT5 to cancer, but the protein is an enzyme that can act on hundreds of other proteins, so scientists weren’t sure exactly how it was stimulating cancer cell growth.

Further experiments in which the researchers analyzed other genes affected when PRMT5 was inhibited led them to hypothesize that PRMT5 was using a special type of gene splicing to stimulate tumor growth. Gene splicing is required to snip out portions of messenger RNA known as introns, that are not needed after the gene is copied into mRNA.

In 2015, Boutz and others in Sharp’s lab discovered that about 10 to 15 percent of human mRNA strands still have one to three “detained introns,” even though they are otherwise mature. Because of those introns, these mRNA molecules can’t leave the nucleus.

“What we think is that these strands are basically an mRNA reservoir. You have these unproductive isoforms sitting in the nucleus, and the only thing that keeps them from being translated is that one intron,” says Braun, who is now a physician-scientist at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

In the new study, the researchers discovered that PRMT5 plays a key role in regulating this type of splicing. They speculate that neural stem cells utilize high levels of PRMT5 to guarantee efficient splicing and therefore expression of proliferation genes. “As the cells move toward their mature state, PRMT5 levels drop, detained intron levels rise, and those messenger RNAs associated with proliferation get stuck in the nucleus,” Lees says.

When brain cells become cancerous, PRMT5 levels are typically boosted and the splicing of proliferation-associated mRNA is improved, ultimately helping the cells to grow uncontrollably.

Predicting success

When the researchers blocked PRMT5 in tumor cells, they found that the cells stopped dividing and entered a dormant, nondividing state. PRMT5 inhibitors also halted growth of glioblastoma tumors implanted under the skin of mice, but they did not work as well in tumors located in the brain, because of the difficulties in crossing the blood-brain barrier.

Unlike many existing cancer treatments, the PRMT5 inhibitors did not appear to cause major side effects. The researchers believe this may be because mature cells are not as dependent as cancer cells on PRMT5 function.

The findings shed light on why researchers have previously found PRMT5 to be a promising potential target for cancer treatment, says Omar Abdel-Wahab, an assistant member in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who was not involved in the study.

“PRMT5 has a lot of roles, and until now, it has not been clear what is the pathway that is really important for its contributions to cancer,” says Abdel-Wahab. “What they have found is that one of the key contributions is in this RNA splicing mechanism, and furthermore, when RNA splicing is disrupted, that key pathway is disabled.”

The researchers also discovered a biomarker that could help identify patients who would be most likely to benefit from a PRMT5 inhibitor. This marker is a ratio of two proteins that act as co-factors for PRMT5’s splicing activity, and reveals whether PRMT5 in those tumor cells is involved in splicing or some other cell function.

“This becomes really important when you think about clinical trials, because if 50 percent or 25 percent of tumors are going to have some response and the others are not, you may not have a way to target it toward those patients that may have a particular benefit. The overall success of the trial may be damaged by lack of understanding of who’s going to respond,” Hemann says.

The MIT team is now looking into the potential role of PRMT5 in other types of cancer, including lung tumors. They also hope to identify other genes and proteins involved in the splicing process they discovered, which could also make good drug targets.

Spearheaded by students and postdocs from several different labs, this project offers a prime example of the spirit of collaboration and “scientific entrepreneurship” found at MIT and the Koch Institute, the researchers say.

“I think it really is a classic example of how MIT is a sort of bottom-up place,” Lees says. “Students and postdocs get excited about different ideas, and they sit in on each other’s seminars and hear interesting things and pull them together. It really is an amazing example of the creativity that young people at MIT have. They’re fearless.”

The research was funded by the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology at MIT, the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program through the Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund, the National Institutes of Health, and the Koch Institute Support (core) Grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Categories: Cancer Research

Registration open for Maui Paddle for a Cure - Lahaina News

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 18:44

Registration open for Maui Paddle for a Cure
Lahaina News
Maui Paddle for a Cure is a fun, non-competitive event that takes stand up, kayak and canoe paddlers along the beautiful shoreline of Kaanapali Beach to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month and raise funds for Susan G. Komen Hawaii. Hyatt Regency ...

STROINSKI: Accepting North Korea as a nuclear power - Daily Free Press (subscription)

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 14:53

Daily Free Press (subscription)

STROINSKI: Accepting North Korea as a nuclear power
Daily Free Press (subscription)
It's certainly a problem for South Korea, Japan and our islands in the Pacific — largely because nuclear bombs have the potential to devastate, as I'm sure you know, entire cities, regions and even countries. Though the initial bomb will obliterate ...
Could World War 3 happen? How North Korea and Kim Jong-un could cause a nuclear apocalypseThe Sun

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RUSH HOUR: Thousands evacuated as Vanuatu volcano threatens to blow - NEWS.com.au

Pacific Islands Cancer News (Google) - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 11:25

NEWS.com.au

RUSH HOUR: Thousands evacuated as Vanuatu volcano threatens to blow
NEWS.com.au
A volcano has forced 6000 people to flee the tiny Pacific island of Ambae, in Vanuatu, as stones, ash and lava spew from the crater. The Monaro volcano is been active since 2005, but a recent increase in activity has sparked fears of a major eruption.

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